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Gardai to set up new prostitute sting ops

GARDAI are to set up a new series of sting operations targeting men seeking the services of prostitutes.

Two men were convicted at Limerick District Court recently of soliciting undercover gardai for sexual services.

Now Superintendent Frank O'Brien, of Henry Street garda station in Limerick, said more stings would take place after businesses in parts of the city expressed concern over prostitution.

The two men were arrested by gardai as part of Operation Freewheel, in which more than 20 men were detained and charged with soliciting or importuning for the purposes of prostitution in 2011.

Following the undercover sting, street prostitution in Limerick seemed to decline.

However, Supt O'Brien said the activity has resurfaced and is causing concern.

Warning

"Issues surrounding prostitution are surfacing again. The final two cases resulting from Operation Freewheel were brought before the courts in recent days and others can take this as a warning that we will be focusing on targeting people seeking out the services of prostitutes," Supt O'Brien explained.

"There has been a significant concern raised again. We have seen the movement of certain people involved in prostitution from one area of the city to another area.

"Unfortunately, the result of our operations can cause the problem to be moved around but people can be warned that we are going to refocus our operations to target these areas that are now a cause of major concern to residents and the business community," he added.

The senior garda said that recent garda undercover operations targeting street drug dealing had also proved "very successful" in recent times.

Irish Independent